Mom called it a cruise, but I knew that prisoners didn’t go on cruises. I rode to the dock the day the ship left. I couldn’t see Dad, but I waved as the ship steamed away, just in case.
He returned five years later, tanned, muscular, almost unrecognizable. He didn’t drink anymore, didn’t yell or get violent. I didn’t mind the polite stranger he’d become.
But he doesn’t laugh anymore, doesn’t go outside. He just sleeps or watches TV.
Now when the ship comes, I ride to the dock to curse the beast that, somehow, ate my father.
A strange story, but that is probably what you’ve come to expect from me. What do you think happened to the father while he was away?